How NEW Years Help OLD Habits
There is at least one thing that we all have in common. We want change. We need change. Lady Tramaine Hawkins has been my special musical guest, from time to time, when I’ve conducted summer evangelistic campaigns. She is always well received when she sings old favorites like, “Oh Happy Day” and “ Goin Up Yonder.” But the place explodes when they hear the introduction to her classic, “Changed.”
Change. There is something about most of us that wants to be better. That wants to do better. And that’s one of the powerful appeals of the month of January. The eyes of the world are focused on resolutions and change- if only for a few days. Just under 50% of Americans make resolutions each year and the resolutions are largely the same. The Nielson Company noted the top resolutions in 2015:
- Exercise and stay fit – 37%
- Lose weight – 32%
- Enjoy life to its fullest – 28%
- Spend less and save more – 25%
- Get organized – 18%
But here’s the problem. According to Forbes, 80% of people have broken or adjusted their resolutions by Valentine’s Day. And in case you forgot, that’s in February! Now that failure rate is high compared to other surveys, but I’m not surprised. A few years ago this month, I was going through some old sermon notes. I discovered a list of resolutions I had made in January of 1994. I shook my head when I realized that they were almost identical to the resolutions I was making roughly 20 years later!
Change isn’t easy. But the encouraging thing about the month of January is that it reminds us of what God wants to do for us. Not just in the first month of the year, but every day of our lives. The good news is that God is the eternal source of change, of fresh starts and new beginnings. He won’t leave you the way he found you!
He says in Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I make all things new!”
Jeremiah said in Lamentations 3:22 -23, “…the compassions of the Lord never fail…they are new every morning, great is the faithfulness of God.“
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.”
God is the source of genuine and lasting change. The problem with many of our yearly resolutions is that they begin in the wrong place. There is absolutely nothing wrong with plans to do better. But real change works from inside out and not from outside in. Everything in us and around us is fighting for the status quo, for things to remain the same. “Stuck” is a bad condition but it’s a comfortable condition. Only the power of God will ultimately break through bad habits.
Years ago, I saw a photo of a sink hole in Orlando, Florida. It was large and destructive. It was so big that cars were trapped inside the sinkhole and structures were in danger of being sucked in. A gentleman from the Public Works department was asked to explain how something so big could have developed almost overnight. “Did a truck punch a hole in the asphalt and start the sink hole?” Did a large tree fall on the street and start the spread of the sink hole?” Those were some of the questions the spokesman was asked.
His answer was enlightening. He said the problem was not with a truck or tree. A water main had broken under the street long ago, they discovered. Slowly but surely it had eroded the foundation of the street: At a certain point the foundation was so degraded that, the spokesman said,
“Something as light as the foot of a fox could have broken through the top layer of the street. And because the foundation was destroyed, nothing could stop the sinkhole from spreading.”
Our foundation is critical. Many of us are literally “dying” for change. Old habits are destroying our health and our relationships. Outward change is important and extremely motivating. But if we’re not focusing on our foundation in 2018, our resolutions are destined to fail. God offers the inside-out power for foundation building and lasting change.
So, join us on a life changing journey this month of January. Our focus is lasting change. This blog is the first in a series that I’ve entitled, “The Resolution Solution: Secrets to Lasting Change!” We will explore critical keys that will help us walk in God’s purpose for our lives in 2018. Each Wednesday evening at 6:30 Central I will be presenting this series in a Facebook live event from the Madison Mission Church here in Alabama. Connect with us live or join us in the rebroadcast.
I have also written a short e-book that expands on these principles that we will be studying in the blogs and on Wednesday evenings. It’s Free!! You can get the e-book entitled, “The Resolution Solution” for free from January 1 through 8. Download it here and now.
So, are you ready to do a new thing in 2018. Are there things you want God to for you this year? What are the biggest barriers to change? How can we pray for you? Let us know and we’ll begin praying now.